The Stepping Stone
On June 11, 1982, Larry Holmes defeated Gerry Cooney in a heavyweight title fight that turned out to be boxing’s last great black-white cultural event of the twentieth century. If you want to talk to Holmes about it now, you call the offices of Larry Holmes Enterprises in Easton, Pennsylvania. The secretary puts you through to his business manager, who determines whether it’s worth the boss’s while to talk to you. If all goes well, you make an appointment to call Holmes—or visit in person—during business hours later in the week. If Holmes has to go on the road for a promotional appearance, as he often does, it all takes longer. To reach Cooney you call the offices of the Fighters’ Institute for Support and Training (FIST), the organization he founded to help boxers make the transition to life outside the ring. FIST has good intentions, but no real money yet. The cheerful woman who answers the phone gives you Cooney’s cell phone number without bothering to find out what you want; you leave a message on his voice mail, then he calls you back from his car sometime and you talk as he drives around New Jersey, usually at night.
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- 1.Larry Holmes with Phil Berger, Larry Holmes: Against The Odds (New York: St. Martin’s, 1998), 201.Google Scholar